9th Grade PE - A Personal Fitness Approach

  • 5 April 2022
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9th Grade PE - A Personal Fitness Approach
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In nearly every state across the country, high school students are required to take a 9th grade PE course. For some states and schools, 9th grade PE is the only requirement before physical education becomes an elective. At other schools, it is a stepping stone for future required PE courses throughout students’ high school careers. 

No matter what comes after 9th grade PE, teachers look at this transformative time as an opportunity to expose students to new fitness and health opportunities. 

At Unity Christian High School in Iowa, Josh Van Kempen has shaped his 9th grade PE class to center around the theme of personal fitness. Here is what a semester of 9th grade PE looks like at Unity Christian. 




The Big Picture – 5 Components of Fitness 


Throughout the semester, Josh looks to shape everything around the five components of fitness. 

The five components of physical fitness are: 

  • Cardiovascular Endurance 
  • Muscular Strength 
  • Muscular Endurance 
  • Flexibility 
  • Body Composition 

With this structure, Josh aims to provide different opportunities for developing these five components, 

“I want students to experience different aspects of personal fitness. They don’t have to love everything we do in class, but they can at least understand why it is important or relevant to our theme of personal fitness.” 


PLT4M Powers 9th Grade PE 


With a lot to cover in 9th grade PE, Josh started using PLT4M with his classes. From the library of programs available from PLT4M, Josh selects the units that complement his goal of teaching personal fitness. 


Intro To Strength Training


With PLT4M’s Intro To Strength Training program, Josh introduces all his students to the fundamental movement patterns and basic lifts. 

Josh explains how this program is a great place for all of his first-year students to start, 

“It helps build muscular strength that all students need. But, more importantly, it gives every student a chance to experience weightlifting at an appropriate level.” 

By the end of this unit, students have gotten the chance to learn things like the back squat, bench press, deadlift, and a wide variety of different dumbbell and bodyweight movements.


Intro To The Bench Press.

Sample Content From Intro To Strength Training Curriculum. 



Intro To Yoga 


With PLT4M’s yoga program, students are introduced to yoga poses and basic yoga flows. Josh sees this as an opportunity that students otherwise wouldn’t get without PLT4M, 

“I don’t know a lot about yoga. Or at least I didn’t. But I know it is a popular fitness option, and I wanted students to get a chance to try this as a unit.” 

And because it is a unit that some students might shy away from, Josh makes it a point to take part in the action,

“I tell the students that all of the different units take skill and practice. So I explain how when we first start you might not be great at it. I am right there with them, so I do the yoga to show and make the point we should all give it a try.” 


Yoga Flow For Beginners. 

Sample Content From Intro To Yoga Curriculum.




Fitness Literacy 


As students start to explore different types of units like strength and yoga, Josh compliments the activity experiences with PLT4M’s Fitness Literacy program. 

Fitness literacy is one of the classroom-based lessons used within the health portion of the class. Each lesson includes a written article, a summary video, and the accompanying assessment questions. These lessons break down everything from an introduction to the mental & physical effects of fitness, down to the mechanics of foundational human movement.


Capacity – Aerobic & Anaerobic.

Sample content from Fitness Literacy Curriculum. 






Along with fitness literacy, Josh incorporates nutrition lessons into the classroom side of 9th grade PE. Because nutrition and fitness are so closely linked, it is an excellent connection that the class can start to bridge. 

PLT4M’s nutrition program breaks down the basics of macronutrients like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. From there, it explores how nutrition applies to students’ everyday lives. 

Josh describes why nutrition is important to this 9th grade PE class, 

“Students know that at a high level nutrition and fitness are connected, but don’t know the reasons why. Breaking down nutrition as a part of this class helps students get the complete picture.”


Intro To Carbohydrates – What & Why.

Sample Curriculum From Intro To Nutrition. 



Dance Fitness 


While it is not a dedicated unit like the other subjects, dance fitness is something that Josh has started to bring into class as well. Josh sees multiple advantages to having dance as part of the class, 

“It helps break things up during the week with some of our other units. It is also a great way to talk about cardiovascular endurance and all the different ways you can develop it.” 


Intro To Dance Lesson.

Sample Content From Dance Fitness Curriculum. 




A Foundation of Personal Fitness Opens Many Doors 


Unity Christian 9th Grade PE covers a lot in a semester! And the different units and lessons described above are not even an exhaustive list. 

Although the bulk of the semester is spent as a group trying out different fitness options, the students are ready to start making their own choices towards the end of the semester. 

Student-athletes might start to explore in-season or off-season training options. Other students can continue with more advanced personal fitness and yoga options. There is something for everyone and all the curriculum lives within PLT4M.


Key Takeaways on 9th Grade PE: Personal Fitness Approach 


With so many different topics and options to choose from, there is certainly no one specific way to run a 9th grade PE course. But, if the goal is to introduce and expose students while also building fundamental skills, Unity Christian showcases a great approach to the semester. 

For Josh, the biggest advantage to PLT4M has been the confidence he has in the content and curriculum that he is delivering to his students, 

“With every new program or unit we try from PLT4M, I am always impressed by the quality and consistency of what is available. It makes planning a semester worth of material easy.” 

Whether 9th grade PE is the last stop before electives or the first step before three more years of physical education, a personal fitness approach can lead to great results.


Josh Van Kampen
P.E. Teacher at Unity Christian High School in Iowa


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